Column: Medical Assistance expansion will hurt taxpayersDefying any shred of common sense, the Minnesota House of Representatives last week approved a measure to expand Medical Assistance, which is a federal Medicaid program for low-income residents.
By: Steve Drazkowski, The Republican Eagle
Defying any shred of common sense, the Minnesota House of
Representatives last week approved a measure to expand Medical Assistance, which is a federal Medicaid program for low-income residents.
Oh it sounds great on paper — spending more money to help out the less fortunate. What could be wrong with that?
The reality is we’ve forced another 35,000 people, many of them
able-bodied — to be sponsored into more government dependency.
Basically, our DFL-led Legislature is taking advantage of a money grab. The federal government is offering us $2 billion per biennium to put more people on health care welfare. The feds are picking up 100 percent of the tab for the first few years of the program, and then reimbursement would drop to 90 percent after the third year.
Sounds great, right? Who would turn down free money?
Let’s look at the recent success of how the federal government meets its financial promises to the states.
Remember the stimulus from a few years ago? Minnesota accepted $2.2 billion and then, despite the fact that our state incorporated those federal funds in our permanent budget, the Washington contribution ended and Minnesota was left holding the bag. This decision alone left us with a deficit twice the size of our current projected budget shortfall.
During debate I asked how Washington has delivered with special education dollars? I was told it reneged on its promise.
Then I asked who pays for this plan if the federal government goes into default – perhaps you’ve heard the federal government is only trillions of dollars in debt – and I received no answer.
In addition, the thousands of people who are enrolled in
MinnesotaCare will likely move to the new federal MA expansion. MinnesotaCare has limits on hospitalization, while the federal program
We attempted to make this bill slightly better by offering an amendment that gave Minnesota the chance to opt out of the program if federal funding dropped below 50 percent. It would have been a safety valve for Minnesota and given lawmakers a chance to review if the program was working and valuable.
The Democrats shot it down.
Haven’t we learned our lesson when it comes to financial problems with the federal government? This is a contract with no end date. Once Minnesota signs up, it is responsible for all of the costs long term.
So what will happen when the feds quit paying us? The answer can most likely be found in Gov. Mark Dayton’s most recent budget plan: tax the heck out of the people who work for a living and live within their means in order to fund the freebies for those who choose not to.
Please let me know what you think. Write me at 289 State
Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN
55155. You can call me at 651-296-2273 or email me at